Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year from LA

Happy New Year from Los Angeles, I would like to point out that it is currently hotter here in LA (winter) than it is in Auckland (summer), the weather here is brilliant. All the best for 2008. It is going to be an interesting year, what with the US Presidential elections and the New Zealand Elections.

I would like to see a President McCain and a VP Huckabee being elected in November and sworn in on Jan 20th 2009.

I would also like to see the National party get 48% of the party vote, with ACT getting 10% of the party vote giving NZ a new PM and giving us Rodney Hide as MP for Epsom, Deputy PM and Minister of Finance. There is a bit of work to do in NZ for this to happen, but it can be done.

In Canada I would like things to stay just the way they are, having the Conservatives and PM Stephen Harper complete their term without the Liberals having a vote of no confidence creating some work for the Governor General to do. I would like the Conservatives to get a majority in the next election as well.

Enjoy the Holidays.

Monday, November 26, 2007

RIP Kevin DuBrow

I am rather shocked to hear that Kevin DuBrow, the lead singer of one of my all time favorite bands, Quiet Riot, has been found dead from unknown causes at his home in Las Vegas Nevada.

DuBrow, 52, was found dead at about 5.20pm on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Clark County Coroner's Office said. An autopsy would be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Quiet Riot, which was founded in the mid-1970s, topped the Billboard charts in 1983 with the album Metal Health, spurred on by the massive hit single Cum on Feel the Noize, which was a cover song originally preformed by Slade from 1973.

Metal Health (bang your head) was a particular favorite song of mine, in fact the whole album and later releases are brilliant. This is a real shame.

RIP Kevin DuBrow

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kimi Raikkonen is 2007 F1 World Champion

Congratulations to Kimi Raikkonen from Ferrari who had luck on his side today when he came from behind to clinch the 2007 F1 World Drivers Championship. Well deserved, and it confirms it to me that Kimi is the best F1 driver out there. Lewis Hamilton let it slip by making a few silly mistakes, and Ferrari simply out preformed McLaren today. Alonso came in 3rd behind Massa.

Kimi is Champ with 110 points followed by
Lewis Hamilton with 109 point, then
Fernando Alonso with 109 points.What a great year in F1. Now we have to wait to March next year for the beginning of the 2008 Championship. Well done Kimi.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pablo pulls through

Councilor Aaron "Pablo" Bhatnagar of Citizens and Ratepayers, has been voted in with the highest amount of votes as a Councilor for Hobson within Auckland City today. Congratulations. Good to see that John Banks is once again Mayor of Auckland. I expect a big difference in Auckland from now on. No more namby pamby politics.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

McLaren fined and wiped of constructor points for 2007.

Formula 1 team McLaren Mercedes has been stripped of all of their constructors points and fined $100 Million US less their loss of income from the FOM for 2007. This will allow drivers Lewis Hamilton and world Champ Fernando Alonso to continue and race for the drivers championship.

This is all because of the Stepneygate saga involving possibly using Ferrari information to modify the McLaren cars. This will be a blow for the team, but I guess they are lucky to not be totally banned. The fine was the largest in motor sport history.

McLaren will need to have their 2008 cars scrutinized by the FIA before the start of the race season next year to make sure no Ferrari type parts or intelligence has been used.
Ferrari are effectively now the 2007 Formula 1 constructor champions.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Led Zeppelin to reunite

According to Reuters.... Rock legends Led Zeppelin have announced a one-off comeback concert on Wednesday nearly three decades after disbanding. This will be a great show to see.

The group split in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham and have performed only a handful of reunion gigs, last taking the stage 12 years ago at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The show will be held November 26 in London.

Tickets will cost 125 pounds ($US254.30), available by ballot only with winners' names chosen at random. Fans can register at for a chance to buy tickets.

The official tickets Web site crashed shortly after the announcement as fans swarmed it for a chance to see the band.

The concert organizer, Harvey Goldsmith, said he thought it would be a one-off show, not a full-fledged reunion tour, but said the band seemed to be bonding well together again.

Bonham's son Jason will wield the drum sticks for Led Zeppelin, joining its founding members: singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones.

The show will be a tribute to the late founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun, who signed Led Zeppelin in 1968.

I hope the band members like their reunion show and decide to tour the world. Come to LA....

Friday, August 31, 2007

New Zealander of the month

This gentleman should be given a medal, not court time. What is happening in NZ? The kids were not hurt, just scared. I bet that they will now think twice about burglarizing any more property.

Gareth Gadsby has my vote for New Zealander of the month.

Helen is # 38 most powerful woman in the world?

According to Forbes, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is the 38th most powerful woman in the world. How can this be? Sure she has been in power for a while, but it seems that she will be retiring next year and handing the reigns to John Key. Surly the position as PM of NZ is powerful, but NZ is not powerful militarily, doesn't really pull too many strings in the UN and is no real threat to anyone. NZ is great a peace keeping some would be inclined to say, but with all due respect, why is Helen Clark in this list? Good on Forbes to think of her, but how do they back it up?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sean Penn has met with Chavez

He's at it again... In CARACAS, Venezuela according to the (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has praised Sean Penn for his critical stance against the war in Iraq, saying the two chatted by phone and have met in person. Next thing you know Sean will be vacationing in Pyongyang

Chavez said Penn traveled to Venezuela this week wanting to learn more about the situation in the country and walked around some of Caracas' poor barrios on his own.

"Welcome to Venezuela, Mr. Penn. What drives him is consciousness, the search for new paths," Chavez said Wednesday in a televised speech. "He's one of the greatest opponents of the Iraq invasion."

Chavez read aloud from a recent open letter by Penn to G.W Bush in which the actor condemned the Iraq war and called for Bush to be impeached, saying the President along with Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are "villainously and criminally obscene people." Well Sean is the one that always makes friends with wacko world leaders, I wonder if he will finally take up my challenge and run for political office on his own. I am sure Chavez and the wackos will fund his campaign.

The socialist president, who shares those views, said he and Penn talked by phone—"with my bad English but we understood each other more or less." I think Sean can speak in an Iraqi dialect as well.....

Chavez said the two plan to meet Thursday. He called the actor "well- informed about what is happening in the United States and the world, in spite of being in Hollywood."

What's more, Chavez said, "he's made great films." The Venezuelan leader said he recently watched Penn's Oscar-winning performance in the film "Mystic River."

For his part, Penn on Wednesday toured Venezuela's new film studios on the outskirts of Caracas. Penn, whose visit was unannounced, did not speak publicly. I wonder what sort of hug he will get from Hugo?

I once again challenge Sean Penn to put his hat in the ring and run for public office. Put yourself up for the vote..... Just do it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

NZ working with US Navy

I noticed this in the NZ herald today. It is very interesting to read that six New Zealand Navy medics have joined a humanitarian mission in the Pacific on board a United States Navy vessel, USS Peleliu.

Defence Minister Phil Goff said it was the first time New Zealand had been invited to join the annual mission since the anti-nuclear rift of the 1980s.

"The medical team will be providing valuable clinical, medical and dental assistance to people who would not ordinarily have access to high-grade medical treatment," Mr Goff said.

I am sure that it will be an exciting time for the NZ Navy team. Great to see that there is a thaw in US policy towards NZ.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Formula one season update

What a phenomenal F1 season it has been so far up to the British Grand Prix in Silverstone England today.

Newcomer and rookie Lewis Hamilton with McLaren has been on all of the podiums (9) so far this year and is leading the championship in points with 70. He has won races and is re writing the record book. Ron Dennis made a wise decision in putting him in a McLaren this year.

This is what it looks like in the 2007 drivers championship so far:

01 Lewis Hamilton 70
02 Fernando Alonso 58
03 Kimi Räikkönen 52
04 Felipe Massa 51
05 Nick Heidfeld 33
06 Robert Kubica 22

It is impressive to see that BMW is 3rd in the championship points. They have some more work to do to be challenging the podium, but surely and steadily they are doing it. I'd think that by the end of the year they will be nipping at the heals of Ferrari and McLaren.

The race in Silverstone today was great. Lewis Hamilton was on pole slightly edging out Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari in qualifying. Felipe Massa was unable to keep his Ferrari running on the formation lap and was forced to start from LAST for the race finishing 5th behind Robert Kubica of Poland in the Sauber BMW who finished 4th.
Fernando Alonso looked like he was in with a shot for the win after the first pit stops, but the Ferrari crew and Kimi's spectacular driving knocked that on the head with Kimi winning, Fernando Alonso the current world champion of McLaren 2nd and England new super star Lewis Hamilton finishing the race in 3rd position.

I have to give it to Ferrari for this race. Kimi won and Felipe came 5th. I would expect that it would have been a Ferrari 1-2 if Felipe had of not had to have started from last place.

I still think Kimi is the best driver on the grid, so I am expecting the last half of the 2007 F1 season to be even better than the first. Will Lewis continue his podium streak? Will Kimi who has won the most races this year continue his pace? Will Fernando get upset by being overtaken by Lewis and switch teams next year? We will have to wait and see.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Aaron Bhatnagar for Auckland Council 2007

Las Vegas is HOT

It reached 116 degrees F or 46.6 degrees C in Vegas yesterday. I expect that the hotel pools are getting a lot of use and the A/C units are working double time. It is amazing how the weather effects Las Vegas. This winter there was snow on the strip and now it is reaching record breaking hot temperatures. It is about time I make another visit to Sin City to play my favorite one armed bandit " Wheel of fortune"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cute little pussy cat(s)

Animal behaviorist Kevin Richardson has such an intimate bond with big cats that he can spend the night curled up with them without the slightest fear of attack.

Richardson, 32, who is based in a wildlife conservation area near Johannesburg in South Africa, works his unusual magic on other species too. Cheetahs, leopards and even unpredictable hyenas hold no threats for him. I petted a Cheetah once and I wanted one immediately. Unfortunately NZ DSIR or whatever it was called at the time wasn't going to allow me to set up a Cheetah conservation in Coatesville :-(

So instinctively in tune is he with these beasts, whose teeth are sharp enough to bite through thick steel, that mother hyenas even allow him to hold their newborn cubs without pouncing to the rescue.

But lions are his favourite. He lavishes them with unconditional love, he says, treating each individual differently, speaking to them, caressing them and, above all, treating them with respect.

What an exciting job.

Hasta la vista Tony

The Governator of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is the last government official to meet with UK P.M Tony Blair before he vacates #10 Downing Street tomorrow. It seems that Mr Blair will be heading up a Middle East peace envoy and will be a busy man after leaving the top job in London so he can't say "I'll be back" to live in Downing Street.

Arnold is fresh from a European tour that took in trips to his native Austria, and to Paris to see French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr Schwarzenegger was in Downing Street to praise Mr Blair's work to combat global warming and to talk California / UK trade.

Looks like they got on well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ah Honolulu

Ah Honolulu, one of my favorite places in the world. I am here to look at property for and attend a wedding today. What a great time. I hope to be back soon. :-)

Monday, June 11, 2007

A great couple of weeks

About 2 weeks ago I got back from a quick 5 day trip to NZ. It was great to see everyone that I managed to catch up with and like usual there were people that I'd like to have seen but didn't. I had a great time though and certainly enjoyed Dad's home cooked lamb shanks and vogels every morning.
Yesterday I hopped in the Car with Gregory and Ted to go to San Diego for a gig they were having at this brilliant club Anthology. We got there early for the sound check, so I caught up with my Kiwi buddies Mat and Sharon and we caught the bus to Tijuana Mexico..... What a fun experience. I have been here for just over 5 years but never managed to make it to Mexico. We got off the bus and walked around, I felt like I was on a movie set. We resided at a small bar and managed to fulfill our dream of a shot of Tequila in Mexico and a Corona.... It was all very fun with Lucas the bartender insisting that we had just one more shot... :-) Anyway we made it to the bus and crossed the border in enough time to catch Gregory and Ted's show back in good old USA.
I am off to Hawaii this week for the wedding of the year....... Fun Fun.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Team New Zealand do it.

Emirates Team New Zealand has won the Louis Vuitton Cup 5-0 against Luna Rossa and is now the challenger for the America's Cup against Swiss team Alinghi..... Way to go Mr Barker and team... Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Republican US Presidential debate.

Tonight I watched the Republican Presidential hopeful debate and what an interesting program it was. It seems that most of the candidates would like to take off from where President Ronald Reagan finished and his name was mentioned at least 7 times throughout the night.

There were 10 candidates and they consisted of:

Gov. Mike Huckabee
Rep. Ron Paul
Gov. Tommy Thompson
Sen. Sam Brownback
Rep. Tom Tancredo
Rep. Duncan Hunter
Gov. Mitt Romney
Gov. Jim Gilmore
Sen. John McCain
Mayor Rudy Giuliani

I was particularly impressed with Gov. Mike Huckabee. He had a particularly good answer to a question Wolf Blitzer asked him about if he believes that God created life as we know it or if he believed in the big bang theory. Having been a previous Baptist Minister he obviously believes that God created man..... But if you or I would like to think that we were descendants of primates then we are welcome to believe it. His delivery of this curve ball question was magnificent. He seemed to have a firm control of his message throughout the evening and he was clear and precise. He seems to know what he is talking about. Would he make a good President? I think so. He'd make a great negotiator and certainly a good nomination for Secretary of State.

Sen. Tom Tancredo from Colorado seemed a little extreme. He has a point of difference on many ideas but I think that he would possibly be a bit much for the White House. He should get behind one of the front runners and offer his support. Maybe he'd be good in a Republican cabinet as he sticks to the book. He is not a fan of G.W Bush.

Rep Ron Paul from also seemed to me like he would not be a suitable candidate for the White House, but he did have a few good points and was not concerned about differing his opinion from his fellow on stage. Another potential for a cabinet, but as with Tom above, he should get behind one of the serious contenders and get out of the race.

Gov. Thompson had a few good one liners, but as with Hillary 2 days ago, we don't really need a comedian as President. While he had some good points, the main concern during the telecast amongst the people watching was weather he was wearing a hair piece. I can't answer that question for you, but I'd certainly accept him as President if his opponent was Dennis Kucinich.

Sen Brownback had a nasally voice somewhat like H. Clinton and had a resemblance of Beavis. I am not sure if the world community would be able to take him seriously.

Rep. Duncan Hunter is one of only a few people who work in Washington D.C that have a offspring in the military deployed overseas. So you have to give it to him that he'd have the troops best interest at heart which is important to me, but there is only going to be one President elected next year and I am not expecting it to be him. He'd be great in Veteran affairs and I hope he gets the opportunity to make sure that our troops are looked after both abroad and when they return.

Gov Jim Gilmore in the first quarter of 2007 raised a mediocre $174,790, the lowest of any of the major-party candidates besides Democrat Mike Gravel. Gilmore hosted only one fundraiser. He is obviously not making a serious run for the White House and although he has a few ideas that seemed reasonable I'd be inclined to think that he is enjoying the limelight and crossing his fingers that someone would like him to be V.P or in the next Republican cabinet. Power to him for trying, but unless he is going to have Mitt Romney open up his check book and spend some of his $500,000,000 on him, which is not going to happen, then he should back out.

Gov Mitt Romney has the look of a President. He has been hugely successful in business and seems to have high morals and trust ability. I am not concerned with the fact he is a Mormon. I have Mormon friends and they are great people. What I am concerned about is that he didn't have a clear message and of all his talking other than his pro-choice leaning at this stage, nothing was clear. He did come across a little bit like a well groomed car salesperson. He may make a reasonable V.P (maybe) but he needs to work rapidly on his message delivery if he wants to get close to the main contenders.

Sen John McCain seemed to me to have the most knowledge, respect and planning to make an excellent President of the USA. He is diplomatic, can work across the party lines and is by no means a freshman. A few of the questions asked were directly against his immigration bill and he got some flack for it from his friends on stage with him, but he managed to brush the water of his back and come back with flying colors. He was clear and precise. Good job.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani certainly has the ability to get the crowd going. He didn't seem as sincere as John McCain though. He got some laughs when lightening hit the roof when he was talking about abortion which was classic but I think that he doesn't have the experience of John McCain and could easily get overpowered by Washington. Not to say he wouldn't make a great President.

This leads to my choise for the President and V.P if I was to vote for the group above. There is always the chance the Frank Thompson may enter the race, and I will assess his potential when I see him in front of a crowd, but for now......

President John McCain
V.P Mike Huckabee

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Democratic US Presidential debate.

Today I watched the live debate for the potential Democratic candidates for President of the United States in 2008

The Democrats debating were:

former Sen. John Edwards

NY Sen. Hillary Clinton

IL Sen. Barack Obama

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel and

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd.

Firstly it was an interesting debate. It looked to me like John Edwards and Sen. Obama were overly favorable of each other. I am wondering if they already have an agreement that if one gets the nomination the other will be chosen as the running mate... That will be something to watch but I feel that if that was the case then once again Mr Edwards will be the Democratic candidate for V.P in 08.

I was particularly impressed with Gov. Bill Richardson I think you will find that the public opinion and approval ratings of him will go significantly up over the next few weeks. He seems to be onto it and has a proven track record in diplomacy having been the US Ambassador to the UN and energy having been #41's Sec of Energy. His is also Hispanic and may well attract the all important Hispanic vote. Only thing he said that I though was un apt was was to put pressure on China re the situation in Darfur Sudan and threaten to withdraw the US athletes from the Olympics in China if they don't do so...

John Edwards failed to impress me. I think a little too much of John Kerry rubbed off on him. He seems a little slimy a dung flinger for want of a better word and at this stage I'd like to see him drop out of the race.

Hillary Clinton seems to know what she is talking about and I must say her voice didn't seem to grate me as much as it usually does, but personally I am wary of her. Maybe she'd make a reasonable V.P, although she'd probably be better to stay in the senate and maybe accept a cabinet position if asked. I think it will be close when it comes to the nomination, but I am thinking that at this stage she won't be the next President of the USA. She did crack a few good one liners that got the crowd going, but we don't need a comedian in the White House.

Barack Obama is rather impressive. He does seem to know his stuff and seems to have the respect of the other candidates. I think that he may have a shot at the nomination and I would like to think that with the right advisor's he could actually make a change. Having said that there is a lot of time to go before the nominations and the election and I would think that if his opponent was John McCain, he'd loose.

Joe Biden Is a character. He is very experienced and has his definite opinions. He'd like to see troops in Darfur NOW and got rather loud when trying to get his point across. He reminds me of Howard Dean ( who I liked ) and I think he'd make a great Secretary of State but I am not expecting to see him as the duly elected President.

Dennis Kucinich is a interesting fellow. He is a Vegan, is pushing for peace, has a nice wife 31 years his junior, but he reminds me of Eddie the Eagle from the winter Olympics. He has the right idea and the respect of the people, but clearly no chance of becoming the President. He makes these debates interesting to watch, although he should stick to being a US Representative.

Mike Gavel from Alaska seemed to be a grumpy old man that disagrees with everyone else. I hope that he is not allowed to have anything more with anything to do with the Government of the USA. He should retire to a fishing lodge and enjoy his twilight years.

Chris Dodd seemed personable, but he didn't really say anything that made me think he was any better than the others. He will probably drop out of the race when the funds dry up, but will have fun running around as a Presidential candidate in the meantime.

A question was asked to all of the candidates as to what they'd do in their first 100 days in the White House.... This is what they said.

Edwards: "travel the world" and "re-establish America's moral authority."

Clinton: bring home U.S. troops from Iraq.

Obama: bring home U.S. troops and push for national health care.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: upgrade U.S. schools and push a $40,000-a-year minimum wage for teachers.

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: end the war in Iraq and defuse tensions with Iran and North Korea.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: help "reshape the world for peace" and end all nuclear weapons.

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel: remind Congressional leaders they can end the war in Iraq now.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: "Restore constitutional rights in this country."

All in all, although I don't want the next President of the USA to necessarily be a Democrat, if I had to vote for one of these candidates right now and pick their running mate i would vote this way.

President Bill Richardson

Vice President Barack Obama

That could work... I now await the Republican debate on Tuesday.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Odin the Tiger

Surprise !!! Wouldn't really want to be in the pool to turn around and see Odin coming in for a dip with you....

Sunday, May 13, 2007

John Key is ahead of Helen Clark in NZ PM polls.

With Don Brash gone and John Key taking the leadership of the NZ National Party, TV3 said it was the first time since 1999, when Jenny Shipley was prime minister, that its TNS poll had shown anyone preferred as PM above Miss Clark.

Mr John Key scored 32 per cent, up four points compared with the last poll in March, and Miss Clark was down seven points to 30 per cent. A close call, but a positive change for the center right. "From every corner of New Zealand we're getting a very strong message that New Zealanders think it's time for a change," Mr Key said.

Miss Clark said the Government tended to get the blame every time something went wrong, even when events happened "well down the food chain" and across a lot of government departments. A rather arrogant comment from the current NZ PM.

The poll also showed National overtaking Labour in the party vote, in line with a trend shown by other polls. National was up from 42 per cent support in March to 48 per cent, while Labour was down from 44 per cent to 36 per cent. Yee HA.

The Green Party was up two points to 8 per cent and the Maori Party was up one point to 3.7 per cent. New Zealand First was up from 1.2 per cent in March to 2.4 per cent, while the other minor parties including ACT were below 1 per cent.

Translated into seats in Parliament, National would have 59 which is nearly enough to rule on its own without a partner and Labour would have 44, so they'd have to sit on the opposition benches. The Greens would have 10, the Maori Party five and ACT, United Future and the Progressive Party one each.

A pretty poor result for ACT really, it is time to get some increase in polling results. If the Greens can be on 8% and constitute rather hard left folk who would probably do more damage than good for NZ if they got more power then it is time for Rodney Hide to power up his SMART GREEN policy's which are particularly good and promote them big time.

There is no reason why ACT can't get 15% of the party vote next election if they are organized and have the right people in place to win seats. The longer it takes to get some positive results before the next election the more of a lottery it becomes.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tony Blair to resign

Tony Blair said Thursday he would step down as British prime minister on June 27, closing a decade of power in which he fostered peace in Northern Ireland and followed the United States to a war in Iraq that cost him much of his popularity.

In a somber farewell, Blair made way for Treasury chief Gordon Brown to take the top post. The British leader looked overcome with emotion, struggling to retain his trademark broad grin as loud cheers rang out.

I am guessing that he will follow the lead that Bill Clinton took by making millions in speaking tour around the world.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Road trip to Colorado

After being in Colorado just last week at short notice and returning to LA, I flew to Reno Nevada on Friday and upon landing I caught a taxi the 50 miles to Squaw Valley California. I had to inspect that house that owns and prepare the BMW x5 that was there for a just under 1100 mile road trip to another of Distinctive Holiday Homes residences in Beaver Creek Colorado.

I left yesterday morning at 8am for the 50 mile trip to Reno to get the vehicle serviced at Bill Pearce BMW. Doug the service guy was excellent and they had me in and out of there in just under an hour with the car serviced, washed and vacuumed. Rick from sales proved to be good value and the time went fast. Excellent service.

I filled up with gas, put the arrival address in the navigation and began my 1000 miles at 10 am. The route took me through Utah, and what a beautiful State it is with it's salt flats, green grass and mountains. I encountered a small spitting of snow and temperatures below freezing for about an hour, but everything cleared up for a pleasant drive through the 73,000 acre Arches National Park. I noticed about 2 or 3 police vehicles along the way and most of the time the speed limit was 75 MPH with the occasional push slightly higher, so I made good time arriving in Beaver Creek in about 12.5-13hours of driving.

So I am in Beaver Creek now and I have plenty of work to do. Hope to be back in LA by Tuesday or Wednesday for a meeting with Cactus Kate.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Paris Hilton hitting the slammer

Paris Hilton arrives for her hearing at the Los Angeles Municipal Court today. Photo / Reuters

LOS ANGELES California USA -According to Reuters. Hotel heiress and reality TV star Paris Hilton has been ordered to spend 45 days in jail for violating the terms of her probation for alcohol-related reckless driving. HEHE what an eye opener she is going to have.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered the 26-year-old celebrity socialite jailed for driving on a suspended license in February. He ordered her to report to jail on June 5. Time for some titanium undies Miss Hilton.

People magazine reported Hilton, 26, who was present along with her parents, as looking shocked when the sentence was read, while her mother gasped. I am sure that her mother realises that any innocence she may have now will be all down the girgler after her stint in California's best. Judge ordered her to report to women's jail in suburban Lynwood.

The judge, Michael Sauer, made the decision after a two-hour hearing during which Hilton insisted she was unaware that her driving privileges had been suspended when she was pulled over for driving without headlights on February 27.

"I'm very sorry and from now on I'm going to pay complete attention to everything. I'm sorry and I did not do it on purpose at all,"' Hilton told the judge before he announced the sentence.

Hilton will not be allowed any work release, furloughs, use of an alternative jail or electronic monitoring in lieu of jail, Judge Sauer ruled.

Hilton was placed on three years probation earlier this year for pleading no contest -- the equivalent of a guilty plea -- to alcohol-related reckless driving after a September 2006 arrest in Hollywood.

She landed in hot water again in late February, when she was pulled over on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood for driving without headlights. Police impounded her car, a US$190,000 blue Bentley, when they discovered she was driving on a suspended license. Naughty naughty girl.

Maybe she will make another video? Time will tell.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Al Gore. Will he throw his hat in the Presidential ring?

Friends of Al Gore have possibly secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House. Considering his popularity in the USA at the moment, he may well have a chance at the Democratic nomination shall he choose to run? He is polling ahead of Sen Edwards, and not to different from Barack Obama.... I am sure he could overtake Hillary if he is serious about it.

Al ore campaign team assembles in secret
Al Gore is third favourite for the Democratic nomination

Two members of Mr Gore's staff from his unsuccessful attempt in 2000 say they have been approached to see if they would be available to work with him again. Well who are they and where did this info come from?

Al Gore, President Bill Clinton's deputy, has said he wants to concentrate on publicizing the need to combat climate change, a case made in his film, An Inconvenient Truth, which won him an Oscar this year.

But, being aware that he may step into the wide open race for the White House, former strategists are sounding out a shadow team that could run his campaign at short notice. In approaching former campaign staff, including political strategists and communications officials, they are making clear they are not acting on formal instructions from Mr Gore, 59, but have not been asked to stop.

His denials of interest in the presidency have been couched in terms of "no plans" or "no intention" - politically ambiguous language that does not rule out a run.

In an interview on Thursday, which touched on the prospects for next year's presidential election, former President # 42 Bill Clinton commented: "You've got the prospect that Vice-President Gore might run."

Now wouldn't it raise some eyebrows if Albert Arnold Gore Jr actually does it?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hillary Clinton gets it wrong?

It seems that while I tend to agree with Mrs Clinton's energy policy outlined in the video above, two things come to mind. Firstly who split the atom first, was it USA? No it wasn't. Her wording is rather ambiguous inferring that amongst being the first country in the world to land on the moon, USA also was the first to split the atom. Hmm is she presuming, trying to take credit, or just ill informed? You tell me.
Second thing is that it was very grating to watch the whole video of her.... Somewhat like listening to my 5th form English teacher scratching the old fashioned black board with her long but blunt nails while telling us she wanted us to write a 5000 word essay for homework due at 9am the next day... You get my drift.
She may be an effective Senator, and she may be married to someone who was an effective President, but thank goodness for John McCain. I don't want to listen to a weekly radio address from President H Clinton.

Friday, April 06, 2007

High speed train from Santa Monica to Las Vegas

If you have evet been to Japan you will realise that it is a trainspotter's paradise without any doubt. From the 12 separate metro lines that twist beneath Tokyo like a bowl of noodles to the suburban commuter trains packed to bursting every morning and evening, the country runs on rails. In 2005, Japanese traveled 243 billion miles by railroad, which is nearly 1,900 miles per person. And 49 billion of those miles were covered by the shinkansen, the super-fast bullet trains that make intercity travel as simple as a subway hop.

If all you've ever known is the slow torture of Amtrak, you won't believe trains that reach 170 mph, depart for major cities at least six times an hour, and measure punctuality in tenths of seconds. Still, the Japanese want to go faster.

Japan already has the world's fastest rail service, but it is spending billions on leaving the bullet train in the dust by dispensing with the friction of rails

For over a decade, Japan has been experimenting with electromagnetic trains at a testing facility in Yamanashi prefecture, about 50 miles west of Tokyo. The repulsion created between magnets embedded in the U-shaped track and others embedded inside the cars causes the train to levitate 10 cm above the bottom of the track "maglev" is short for magnetic levitation, even though is sounds like an Israeli name. The magnets also propel the train forward very, very quickly, in part because air creates less friction than rail. The Yamanashi test maglev set a world speed record for trains in 2003 at 361 mph, and it cruises at 310 mph. The standard bullet train' average speed is 164mph.

Right now, however, the maglev only travels the length of the 11-mile test track at Yamanashi. The train begins moving on wheels and the levitation doesn't kick in until the cars reach 81 mph. After a bump and release, as you would feel aboard a plane leaving the runway, it's pure, even, rapid acceleration to 310 mph. The only clue to the sheer speed is the tunnel lights outside: Standing 40 feet apart, they seem to stretch and blend until they appear as a single white stripe; very Buck Rogers. Outside the train makes a searing boom sound as it rips the surrounding air, but inside the car is as quiet as an airplane cabin, if a bit bumpy. Even before you've grown accustomed to the speed, the ride is over, the maglev gliding to a gentle halt, ending on its wheels.

Motaki Terai, the project's engineering manager, says that bumpiness won't be an issue: "People will be able to drink hot coffee when we start commercial service." But that day may be a long time coming, because the maglev is as costly as it is speedy. Japan Rail (JR) Central, the ex-public company that operates the country's main shinkansen artery, has already spent nearly $2 billion developing the maglev. Building an operational line that would cover the 342 miles between Tokyo and Osaka which is Japan's most heavily traveled rail route and would cost an estimated $70 billion which is about $204 million per mile. That price tag may be prohibitive for a country whose public debt is over 1.5 times its GDP and the largest in the industrialized world, and whose poplation is shrinking.

So it is about 236 miles from Santa Monica to Las Vegas Nevada. It takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes to 9 hours to get there or return depending on the traffic. It costs between $100 to $200 return to catch a plane and that doesn't include parking, and at least $100 in gas if you drive not including any speeding infringements that may be handed to you by officer friendly.

How about a maglev going from Santa Monica to Las Vegas. At the maglevs cost of $204 million per mile, it would cost about $48 billion to build and take less than an hour for the trip. Now I am sure that it would have to stop along the way to pick up passengers but if it was capable of carrying 300 passengers each way every 1/2 hour x 24 hours per day then that is 28800 paying paggengers. If it was $125 each way then that is $3600000 per day times 365 = 1,314,000,000 per year coming in which still would not be enough to make it a viable investment. You'd have to allow for running costs and maintenance as well as the fact that even though there is plenty of people in LA would the train be full all of the time?

What would make sense is a good old TGV or shinkansen bullet train which are capable of a top speed of about 186 MPH (300kph) or more. These are rather old technology and are capable of running on standard tracks up too about 150mph. If it cost 5 billion to complete properly then on the same calculations above you'd be able to charge $85 each way and have the project payed off in under 7 years.

The airlines would have something to say about it I am sure, but it would certainly make the trip to Vegas about 1 hour and a half and I for one would pay $85 each way to get to Sin City without worrying about speeding tickets or missing the plane.

Something to think about.

Pelosi in Damascus

Syrian President Bashar Assad, on the right, greets United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in Damascus, Wednesday, April 4,2007. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held talks with Syria's president on Wednesday despite harsh White House objections, saying she pressed Bashar Assad over Syrian support for militant groups and passed him a peace message from Israel's prime minister. It is a good thing that Speaker Pelosi is undermining the White House by visiting leaders of countries that are thought of as sponsors of terroristic activities?
Speaker Pelosi also visited with
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, having talks at his headquarters in Ramalla as well as popping quickly into Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to chat with the folks running the Kingdom.
I am all for diplomatic relations with every country. For the USA and others to publicly ignore someone or a particular country does not make them go away and it certainly does not make or give them the opportunity to favor or like you anymore than they do currently. It is a rather cheeky of Speaker Pelosi to have these talks, but maybe just maybe something will be made of them. Photo courtesy of AP/Sano

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Guns and Roses to play in Auckland

According to the NZ Herald, Guns N' Roses are set to rock Auckland's Vector Arena this June in a special one-night-only concert and what a show it will be.

The infamous rockers will come to New Zealand for the first time since 1993, as part of the Chinese Democracy World Tour. They need to release Chinese Democracy the album first but we have all been waiting years for it so lets hope it is soon.

They will play the 12,200 capacity stadium on Friday, June 29. I saw them in September at teh Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas and they rocked.. If you are a fan DON'T miss out.

Tickets to the show will go on sale on Monday, April 30 at 9am through TicketMaster.

The band will be joined by two special guests, former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach and Australian blues rockers, Rose Tattoo.

Gun N' Roses last played in New Zealand to a crowd of 52,000 at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium. I was there it was AXL's 30th birthday..... He is now 44.....

Rock on G'N'F'N'R.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

5 years in the USA today.

This is my 5 year anniversary of arriving in the good old USA.... TIME FLYS.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sean Penn mouths off again....

According to the San Francisco Chronicle: Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn has voiced his opinion again and was supposidly the star attraction at a town hall meeting today in Oakland, where hundreds of people gathered to denounce the war in Iraq and call for an immediate withdrawal of American troops.

I once again challenge Mr Penn to run for public office in 2008 so as he can actually put his money and time on the line where his mouth is.

Neither Penn nor Rep. Barbara Lee, the Oakland Democrat who has opposed the war since before it began four years ago, offered much in the way of specifics for ending the conflict, and they were largely preaching to the choir. The enthusiastic and occasionally boisterous crowd of 800 or so crammed into the Grand Lake Theatre wildly cheered as Penn excoriated President Bush. I would guess that they were preaching to the converted.

"You and your smarmy pundits -- and the smarmy pundits you have in your pocket -- can take your war and shove it," Penn said. "Let's unite not only in stopping this war, but in holding this administration accountable."

I am sure that if Mr Penn used more polite language he may well get more credibility in this and any subject he chooses to target. Can't imagine him getting a meeting with the President to outline his principals if he is so curt.

The town hall meeting came six days after peace marches were held nationwide to mark the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and one day after the House of Representatives voted 218-212 to withdraw combat troops by Sept. 1, 2008.

While that is a good target, I think that if the time comes and there is still work to be done that that date will be just a dot in the sand.

Penn reiterated a point often made by opponents of the war when he said he supports the troops but opposes the war.

It is very very important to support the troops as it is their lives on the line. This tug of war over a pull out date is not going to help win the war, all it is going to do is give the insurgents a time line to plan their take over of Iraq upon pullout. Mr Penn needs to come up with something better than just demanding withdrawal.

"Let's make this crystal clear: We do support our troops, but not the exploitation of them and their families," he said. "The money that's spent on this war would be better spent on building levees in New Orleans and health care in Africa and (care for our veterans, which I agree with him on). Iraq is not our toilet. It's a country of human beings whose lives that were once oppressed by Saddam are now in Dante's Inferno."

Lee was among the California Democrats who voted Friday against the $124 billion war spending measure that President Bush has promised to veto. Lee is a member of the "Out of Iraq Caucus" that includes Democrats Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma and Maxine Waters of Los Angeles.

"We can't afford to spend one more dime or lose one more American or Iraqi life on this illegal and un-winnable war," Lee told the crowd, which offered several rousing standing ovations.

Lee introduced Penn to the crowd as movie star and temporary journalist for The Chronicle, referring to his dispatches published in the newspaper when he visited Iran in 2005. Penn also has visited New Orleans as part of the post-Hurricane Katrina rescue effort.

Outside the theater, protesters carried signs saying "Impeach Bush." Among those who attended today's rally were members of Grandmothers Against the War.

At the rally, which was organized by a coalition of Oakland community groups, folk singers led the crowd in song and a rapper rapped about violence in the streets. There were calls for impeachment of the president and for troops to be brought home and pleas for federal dollars to be spent on schools rather than on the war.

What good is Sean Penn really doing? We all want out troops back safe and sound and we'd all like to see and end to the war. He has a few reasonable points, but he seems to just be a trouble maker that never gets anything done other than a couple of write ups in the paper. Modify your attitude Mr Penn and put your balls on the line and run for public office in 2008....DO IT.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Helen Clark and George Bush. A picture I like.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark (Labour) and US President George W Bush (R)

It is nice to see that Helen made the effort to come the the US to visit with the President and Secretary of State. It is important that NZ has good relations with USA and visa versa.

A US free trade agreement for NZ would be a brilliant outcome from this meeting, but I am not holding my breath. A order for 10 or 15 F16 or F18's for the NZ Air force would have been nice too, but we'll have to probably wait for National and ACT to get in power for that. Maybe Helen invited George to NZ after the APEC in Sydney this year? Will he go to NZ? Time will tell.

I notice Helen is wearing slacks again..... It's not like Bill is still President, why does she not dress up a bit more?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Airbus A380 lands at LAX

This morning, the man commonly known as the Triple Johnson and myself ventured to the end of runway 24 R (I think) at LAX by the world famous In " N " Out burger to watch the Airbus A380 land for the first time in USA.

The plane is rather large and is about 8 stories high. It is capable of carrying over 500 people in it's double decker layout, and is due to hit service sometime this year with Singapore Airlines first.

The landing was interesting. It certainly has a presence mid air and was quieter than the UA 747-400 which landed shortly before the A380's arrival. The actual landing was a bit ruff, as it landed somewhat sideways reminisent of what I have seen at the old Hong Kong airport.

There was a couple of hundred people waiting for teh arrival, and it was interesting to see the LA bomb squad cruise by with sirens blaring. Just what you want to see out of your window as you land at an airport.

These are the photo's I took............

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Borat a human rights victum?

According toReuters - Fictional Kazakh TV reporter Borat has made an unexpected cameo appearance as a victim of censorship in a heavyweight annual human rights report issued by the US State Department.

The 2006 report, released in Washington on Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, criticized the real Kazakhstan, a vast oil-producing Central Asian state, for increased restrictions on freedom of speech and other abuses.

The State Department, which says Kazakhstan has no independent judiciary, also listed the murder last year of Kazakh opposition politician Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly, his bodyguard and driver as "unlawful deprivation of life."

The report cited Borat's loss of his Kazakh webpage in late 2005 alongside court cases and limits on free speech faced by the few domestic media critical of Kazakhstan's long-serving President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

"The government deemed as offensive the content of a satirical site controlled by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and revoked the .kz domain," the report said.

Baron Cohen, who subsequently moved the site to, has been something of a thorn in the side of Kazakhstan's government, which initially reacted angrily to his portrayal of the country as home to misogynists and racists.

Shortly before the Web site closure, a Kazakh Foreign Ministry official threatened "legal measures" against him. Cohen, who is Jewish, responded in character as Borat saying:

"I ... fully support my government's position to sue this Jew."

There was no lawsuit and officials adopted a more measured stance on Borat, whose movie grossed $248 million last year, with Nazarbayev later saying that he got the joke during a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In its remarks on Sarsenbaiuly's death, the State Department criticized a Kazakh court for failing "to follow up and investigate signs that other parties and high-level government officials may have been involved in instigating the killings."

The report also listed military hazing, torture by police, unhealthy prison conditions, arbitrary arrests, restrictions on freedom of assembly, domestic violence against women, people trafficking and "severe limits on citizens' rights to change their government" as areas of concern.

Ummm Borat must have been right about his beloved country.